[Alpha Demo] Burst Fighter
Burst Fighter is a slick looking indie effort that harks back to classic 2D shoot ’em ups of yore such as Raiden. The game was recently greenlit on Steam and we decided to hop in the cockpit and take the current alpha demo for a spin.
The HD style pixel art is great; everything runs at an extremely slick pace. Watching your laser blasts gracefully stream across the screen is satsifying, to say the least, despite the dozens of bullets crowding the screen at any one time. Though the HD style makes it all perhaps a little too “clean” – an issue I have with most HD graphics – compared to chunky pixels which leave more to the imagination. On the other hand, though, the smoothness of it all makes dodging and weaving between the many bullets a much more fluid experience – and as a non-bullet hell fan, dare I say it, even fun.
Gameplay wise, Burst Fighter is easy enough to pick up and play, and sports the usual shoot ’em up suspects. The various enemies sometimes generously drop powerups to increase your main weapon damage, and collecting enough of the green blobs left behind by their dessicated carcasses eventually adds a bomb to your arsenal (max of 3), which, when triggered, unleashes a spectacular laser blast covering a good deal of the screen. Levels also end with the expected oversized bosses – the first one needing to be taken down in several stages.
A nice addition to its retro heritage is the ability to customise your ships by mixing and matching ship parts. You can select options for three parts of the ship (the wings, weapon and main hull), as well as a colour for each. It’s a nice touch that feels better than the usual “fast-but-weak ship or slow-but-powerful ship” dichotomies, while still being quick and easy to choose from; balancing variety with complexity. Sadly though, in its current form the game’s menu doesn’t really explain what changing each part actually does – you have no choice but to try out different combos and see what happens in game. Aside from that nitpick, it’s a fun concept.
For all of Burst Fighters‘ slickness, though, there is seemingly a mismatch between its explosive presentation and what actually is happening on screen.
Collecting the weapon powerups simply didn’t seem to make much difference, visually or otherwise, and considering the obscene power suggested by the “bomb” option, it barely seemed to do any actual damage to anything but the weakest of foes – hardly scratching the lifeforce of the bosses. In general, the bosse’ large healthbars seemed to take forever to whittle down – making it feel like a bit of a slog at times.
Burst Fighter is still a WIP, and with the recently successful Steam greenlight, I’m sure Burst Fighter will be fully fleshed out and polished. We’re looking forward to it.